Partnership Seeks To Take A Bite Out Of Scrap Metal Theft

On Oct. 25, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) announced they will work together on efforts to address metal theft across the nation. The partnership will involve NCPC's vast network of prevention-focused law enforcement contacts with the 1,425 ISRI member companies that recycle scrap and support theft prevention programs such as the ISRI Theft Alert system.

Scrap theft is ever-present in the recycling industry, but the problem has worsened in recent months as prices for many metal commodities have increased.

"These crimes cost communities, businesses and property owners a great deal more than the scrap value of the materials themselves," said Alfonso Lenhardt, NCPC president and CEO. "Thieves often attempt to sell these materials to scrap recycling facilities. ISRI is the ideal partner to help fight back because it has the tools and the expertise to make a difference."

ISRI president Robin Wiener said that the industry group will continue to be aggressive in fighting scrap theft. "Partnering with NCPC offers ISRI a new channel to communicate with local law enforcement and to share the tools we have available to prevent scrap theft and identify stolen materials that find their way to our door," Wiener said.

The two groups will collaborate on co-branded materials for local authorities on such topics as ISRI's Theft Alert system, steps communities can take to guard against metals theft, and how law enforcement and community groups can work with local scrap dealers. Co-branded tips and related information also will appear on the two organizations' Web sites. ISRI also plans to distribute materials with NCPC's famous icon McGruff the Crime Dog(R) to its member scrap yards.

"No legitimate scrap dealer wants to intentionally take stolen material. It's bad for business and just plain wrong," Wiener said. "Having McGruff the Crime Dog's image posted at a scrap yard will send a strong signal to thieves that stolen scrap is not wanted here."

NCPC/ISRI partnership initiatives will complement the strategies scrap recyclers often use to minimize the likelihood of purchasing stolen materials. They include:

  • Requiring identification from the seller.
  • Making payments by check or ATM, or using tracking methods for cash transactions.
  • Capturing transactions on surveillance cameras.
  • Prohibiting certain items such as new production materials or items only used by governments and utility companies.
  • Training employees to identify stolen materials.
  • Building working relationships with local law enforcement.

For more information, contact ISRI at

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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